Vaccine update: COVID-19 booster shots, a fourth (4th) shot is now available for the immunocompromised
COVID-19 booster shots (4th shot) available for the immunocompromised
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) following consultation with the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) approved a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose for people who are immunocompromised (have weakened immune systems). The full statement is available here.
Fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose for the immunocompromised
This group was recommended to have 3 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as their primary course (Instead of the 2 doses recommended for the general population). As such, the fourth dose is being described as their booster rather than part of the primary vaccination course. Immunocompromised people are eligible to receive their booster (the fourth dose) four months after their third dose.
A department of Health statement suggested the changes were due to the emergence of the Omicron strain ‘Immunocompromised individuals who have received three primary doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are also recommended to have a booster dose in line with the timing for the general population, ie currently a four-month interval from their primary course and, when capacity permits, three months,’ the statement reads.
ATAGI specifically highlighted “those with severe immunocompromise who have had more than six months’ interval since their second dose to receive a third dose ‘as soon as feasible’. This group is at an especially high risk of infection and poor residual immunity from the vaccine.
No need for a 4th shot for the general population
The ATAGI said that for the general population, ‘There are no data to support the use of any additional primary doses of COVID-19 vaccine after a third primary dose’. ‘Patients who do not respond to third doses may not respond to subsequent doses’.
The third dose is recommended between two and six months after the second dose. However, ATAGI said that a shorter interval of four weeks could be considered ‘in exceptional circumstances’, including ‘anticipated intensification of immunosuppression’, as well as outbreaks.
Pfizer vaccine at HHMP
The Pfizer (offered at HHMP) and Moderna mRNA vaccines are the preferred vaccines for a third primary dose or booster. AstraZeneca can still be used for patients who had it for their first two doses without any contraindications, or if they have had a significant adverse reaction to an mRNA vaccine dose.
HHMP will continue to deliver the Pfizer vaccine for patients for initial vaccination, 2nd dose, 3rd dose or boosters. Demand has been high recently and appointments have become in short supply. We continue to try and add more sessions and staffing and vaccine supply allows. Please continue to check our online booking system for the latest appointments.
Making a booster booking
Making a booking is simple and can be done online using the BOOK AN APPOINTMENT button below or by calling 02 9817 2080. There is no waiting list.
As usual, vaccination will occur at our vaccination clinic on level 1 which is accessible by the internal lift or outdoor stairs. Please wear a mask and follow the signs.